We are created to be connected through relationships, but it seems our world has been designed for seclusion. Life is so busy and demanding that communication begins to suffer which often creates a disconnect from our families. In a recent study, 72% of Americans feel lonely despite the fact that technology allows us to have the whole word at our fingertips. How is it that God alone is not enough for us? God created us with a void only other humans can fill. We need something to love. When we are connected through meaningful relationships, it provides us with balance as we benefit from other perspectives. There are several ways that we can connect into God’s network. We connect through generosity by tithing and giving to charity. It is important to stay within your means. Your contribution does make an impact within our communities. We connect through worshiping God as a church family. Even if it’s only for one hour a week, that connection is important. Another way to connect is through life groups. The intimacy of meeting in someone’s home for a meal and good conversation is what builds lasting relationships. We connect through our community by volunteering so we can fill needs. We are created for connections as God wants us to care for each other. Are you connected the way God intended?
You are a valuable part of this team called church and your ministry is essential! God has a plan for you and has gifted you certain talents which you bring to the team. Collectively we make up the body of the church and are all of equal value. If one person is missing, the team isn’t as good as it could be if everyone was there. Since we are uniquely intertwined, if one person suffers then we all suffer together. There is more to God’s plan than just being saved. He wants us to share the message and our experiences so we lead others to salvation. The literal meaning of minister is a servant and as Christians we are called to be servants before any other role we have in life. You are ministers inside the church. Volunteering allows you to grow spiritually as you serve God through serving other people. We are not called to be Christians alone. What area is God calling you to volunteer in? You are also a minister outside the church. God uses regular people disguised as teachers, policemen and construction workers to minister to others during everyday life. By loving and investing in the people in your community, you can reach the lost. To do that, you may need to step out of your comfort zone and stop holding yourself back. Step out in faith and recognize your potential. How many people can you share God’s message with? You are a valuable part of this team called church and your ministry is essential!
When Michael and Kelleen became pastors of FBC eleven years ago, their question to God was “what do you want us to do?” The answer is to draw, introduce and lead people to Jesus. Their mission became to reach the unchurched. In order to touch the people that have never attended church or those hurt by church in the past, they had to think outside the box and get rid of some traditions. Jesus broke a ton of traditions in order to share His message. The church should be designed around the movement of Christ and not around a set of rules. Jesus meets people where they are in life and the church should do the same. The church should make it simple to follow Christ and not do anything that is unnecessary or a hindrance in coming to Him. We know that Jesus makes our life better. We know that Jesus loved us enough to die for our sins and we are called to share that message with others. We are not called to point out the wrongs, be judgmental or require others to live by a certain set of rules. In order to continue reaching the “unchurched”, FBC needs to be aware of what people see, hear and experience when attending our church. The greatness of FBC is associated with its leaders and volunteers. The people are the church. FBC wants to make disciples out of us so everyday can go out and care, give and invest in others. Never lose sight of the mission and continue to bring the message to those who don’t know Jesus. How can we make a difference today? Thank you for supporting the vision of FBC!
Pastor Michael began his sermon by stating that he has been to a variety of churches over the years. The common thread between all of the denominations was that they were designed for church people. It seemed like those churches were always against something whether it was music, dancing, alcohol or divorce. They were constantly trying to alienate entire groups of people. If you didn’t believe and behave like them then you couldn’t join their church. That is an example of the church being a kirche and trying to control everything rather than being a movement. Pastor Michael wanted FBC to be part of the movement so he asked himself some important questions such as who is the church for and who gets to be a part of it?
He further defined ekklesia to mean called out. We are a gathering of people who are following our Savior and being called out to be full of grace and truth. Many churches tend to lean towards one side or the other. The all truth churches only see things as either right or wrong with no gray areas. They will tell you how wrong you are and won’t help you through the challenges in life. They are judgmental and give no grace. On the opposite end of the spectrum are the churches that are full of grace. They are over flowing with love and accept you with open arms. They do not have a moral code making it difficult to grow and mature your relationship with Christ. As Christians we are called out to learn how to be both which opens up the opportunity for a lot of gray area. The gray area is messy and is not always fair, but that is how the movement of Jesus is. Not all people are at the same place in life. There has to be different ways to reach people that are not cut and dry or full of rules. There are days when you need to give someone the truth and there are days when you need to give them grace.
It should be easy to turn to God. When churches are full of rules and regulations, you will always fall short. When there are no rules then it becomes difficult to deepen your faith. In order to be a part of the movement, you need to be comfortable with messy areas. When you are at a low point in your life it is messy, but you still need love and forgiveness. Jesus accepts you where you are at in life. You are not here by accident. Jesus found you and reached your holy spirit. You are important to His movement. It goes beyond just attending church on Sunday. You need to go out and be a missionary for Jesus. By adopting the principle of grace and truth then you can bring the message to those who need it.
What comes to mind when you think of the word church? Is it a white building with a steeple that you go to on Sunday morning? Is it a place to see your friends and family? Is it arguing with the kids because they want to sleep in? The church is not a physical building. The church is actually a movement created by Jesus that will go on forever and can’t be broken. This movement will transform lives, reach the lost and be a light in the community. This movement will never shut its doors because it is never ending and powerful.
Jesus reached out to the poor, the sick and the sinners. He preached in parables, which were often confusing and He preached about a kingdom that couldn’t be seen. Jesus did not preach to the super powers and religious people. He wanted to reach those that had nothing to offer. Jesus often offended people. Upon the truth that He was the savior and Son of God, Jesus started an ekklesia. The translation of ekklesia is a gathering of people united by a common identity and purpose. Pastor Michael read scripture from Matthew 16:13-18 when the disciples had an epiphany. Simon Peter’s name was changed to Peter which means rock and a world changing movement began.
After three years of His ministry, Jesus was betrayed and died on a cross. Those who were a part of this movement were hunted and tortured. Christians had to hide and gather in small groups to pray and eat together. If they whispered the word Jesus to the wrong person they could be killed. Despite these conditions, the ekklesia did not die. In 313AD Constantine, the emperor of Rome, legalized Christianity and became one himself. He began building churches and huge masses of people were saved. The church transformed into a Kirche, which is any ritual gathering place. With this shift in the movement, the enemy began to attack the leaders. The Bibles were locked up and the priest controlled the scriptures. The movement became a location as people didn’t have the word of Jesus anymore.
William Tyndale translated the Bible to English and began distributing them. He gave the word of Jesus back to the people. William renewed the idea of the church being more than just a physical building. The building is just a tool where the movement can gather to reach the lost. Tyndale was killed for translating the words of Jesus. The church is a movement built around the belief that Jesus is the Son of God and will do whatever it takes to show the unchurched that Jesus is the Savior. No matter where you are on your walk with Christ, you are equally important. God chose you to be a part of something so much bigger than yourself. Take that opportunity to invest in the people of your community.